Christmas celebrated in Vraka


The most joyous Christian holiday, Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, this year, was solemnly and prayerfully celebrated in the temple of the Holy Trinity in Vraka near Shkodra, a place of prayer and gathering of our Serbian people living in Shkodra.
The Christmas celebration began on Easter Day, Sunday, January 6, 2019, when the believers gathered around the burning barn in front of the Temple of the Holy Trinity in Vraka.
On this occassion with the blessings of His Blessing Archbishop of Tirana and all of Albania. Anastas Janulatos and the Metropolitan of the Montenegrin region Amfilohije Radovic, in the church, the liturgy was served by the priests of the Albanian and Serbian Orthodox Church.
The liturgical assembly was commissioned by Predrag Scepanovic, a parish of Podgorica with the service of the deacon Ivan Popovic, a clerk of the Albanian Church.
The liturgy was also attended by priest Nikola Petani, the priest of Shkodra parish. The faithful joined the Holy Communion, and then the priest Predrag Scepanovic addressed to believers, first of all congratulating Christmas, saying:
“Glory is in the height of God, and on earth peace and good will among men. Brothers and sisters, I greet you with the many years of greetings “Peace of God – Christ is born”.
He was born as a frail child, He who created both mountains and valleys and mountains and sea. All this God of love created for us and for our salvation. He was born in a barn, he was not born in palaces and castles, so poor people would say this is far from us, this is a rich man. And since His birth to this day, only the one who has God in himself is rich. That is why Christmas is the embrace of God and man, that is why God has passed such a path to become the God who is with us. That is why His birth from the foundation changed human life, human history. He became a man just to overcome death, that is the last enemy who kept the human race in claws.
That is why this joyful day of Christ’s birth is a great feast. A holiday when God becomes one of us and when Heaven sends the most beautiful treasure of the news to the earth, God will become man and will embrace us with this eternal embrace. That is why all of us, who are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, have clothed ourselves in Him, the Christ of the Love of God. That is why all those who fasted and prayed for the sacred ceremony, all those who recognized the coming of God into this world, are blessed, because He is in a cavalry, with the sheep and lambs, by these little creatures of God, God has become man .
Each of us has either a birthday or a special day, but this is the birthday of all the people on earth, all those who love God, and if we do not love God, we will not be able to love his brother who is next to us. If we love God, we will love the brother who is next to us. That is why we are all eternal brothers, precisely because God has become a man. Therefore, blessed is this day, blessed is this feast, blessed are these fields, fields and meadows, this lake blessed, these mountains, all these landscapes. For everywhere God has declared and revealed, it is not a God far away, a greater power, but it is the God of love, our Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and man.
May the love of Christ, the love with which we warmed yesterday with the fire of the God-given Christ in the cave of the city of Bethlehem , because it was cold when the savior of the world was born in a cave, healed us all. It is still cold today, but in our hearts and souls there is love that warms us. Let the love of Christ the God of mankind be an atmosphere that you will breathe, bring into your homes the most beautiful moments of joy, happiness, peace, love, and love, and with your brothers Albanians, with all good-will people from east to west from the north and the south. This is what the God of love instructs us, the God who has become a man so that we too can become gods, as our Holy Fathers say.
May God bless you and let the God-bearing Christ protect your dear, guard your family.
The peace of God is born, concluded Predrag’s father.
All present and especially children were presented gifts from the Metropoly and his grace the Mitropolitan Amfilohije.
After the liturgy in the temple of the Most Holy Trinity in Vraka, gathered at lunch and were greeted by Simo Ajkovic, President of the Orthodox Association St. Jovan Vladimir who said: “My dear brothers and sisters, at this brotherly lunch I greet you all with heart and say that Christ was born. We gathered first in our church, where we listened to our priests how to meet each other, how to serve the highest God and how to make a style to one another and that we always help one another in both the will and the trouble.
On behalf of the Society of St. John of Vladimir, I salute all Orthodox Christians of our faith that celebrate Christmas in the Julian calendar. This is a great honor for us because in Albania we do not have a non-working day for this biggest event in Orthodoxy on the feast of the Birth of Christ. God will grant that the authorities in Albania will think about us and that we will have the same rights as the rest of believers celebrating their holiday.
On this occasion, I salute our great, saint of our, the Metropolitan \Amfilohije, who is celebrating his 81st birthday today. Let him be a happy birthday, let him live many and many summers, for our good, for our faith and for our Orthodoxy. I want all of you brothers and sisters to be healthy , and always gathered and looking forward to more feasts like this to come.
On behalf of the delegation of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro, father Predrag Scepanovic m thanked all the present and said:
“Honorable brothers and sisters. God hugged man on this day and sent us a message that we should hug each other because the deepest truth is “I saw my brother, I have seen my God.” Old Serbian wisdom says: “If you want to live, plant a field. If you want something to live for decades, get a the vineyard planted. If you want to leave something after your life, write a book. And if you want something eternal to be done, build a church. ” Thus, more than twenty years ago in the ancient city of Shkodra, which for millennia in its bosom hides many secrets, many good and evil masters, who built it and demolished it and renewed it again. So, this is Shkodra today for us, and has opened up our hearts and our souls until now. We would like to thank one more blessed Archbishop of Albania, Anastas, for the blessing of serving the Holy Liturgy, and we thank the father Ivan Popović from Shkodra who served and made us a spiritual joy to celebrate Christ’s birth together.
The attendees also greeted Mr. Pavle Brajovic-Jakoja,
President of the Moraca-Rozafa Society, who said:
“Christ is born. I would also like to speak a few words this time, Christmas, which is one of the most important annual days that we celebrate in Shkodra.
All public opinion should know that we are not left in Shkodra, we are not lost, but we fight and we have found our supporters of this high type, such as Mitropolitan Montenegrin mr. Amfilohije Radovic, as well as his, good, high and smart, dynamic associates and priests.
They made us give us the ability and the power to somehow find ourselves and survive in the Shkodra we live in, and in Shkodra we have not been forgotten. On this occasion, I congratulate His Highness and the birthday. Let God have him over 100 years, and not only him, but everyone around him.
In our life and survival in Skadra there are difficulties, and those who explore and speak about us, and consider that we are poor in numbers in number, let them know that we are rich in community and congregation.
During the solemn lunch, traditional Serbian and Montenegrin and songs from Shkodra region were sang by the present.

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